I did this same kind of retrospective last year as a retrospective following the previous year's New Year's resolutions. Obviously, when I set my resolutions in December of 2019 I had no idea what was in store for me.
Despite the pandemic, and as a result of my status as a well-off tech worker, I can look back on a dumpster fire of a year and say I'm actually doing alright everything considered. I can say "f*ck 2020" as much as the next person, but the truth is I was largely insulated from the fallout.
I'm going to do a quick run through of my last year's resolutions and reflect on them a bit. I'll do a separate post with my new New Year's resolutions.
Cook More, Eat Less
Mission accomplished! I did set a goal of losing 50lbs by the end of the year, and I'll say that between October 2019 and October 2020 I had actually officially lost 50lbs. After October as things started getting colder, and holidays approached I've definitely tried my best to stay in (a forgiving) maintenance mode.
I got a lot better about meal planning and I learned about the behaviors that were causing a lot of weight gain, and preventing weight loss. I cooked for myself more than I ate out this year for sure; and they were good meals!
The pandemic really did force my hand in reducing the amount of times I eat out, and increased my time at home to have the energy to make great meals and go on long walks.
My usual walking route is about 6 miles round trip and with the variances in each walk I'd say it varies by about +/- 2 miles. Historically, I never really just decided to put my shoes on and go for a walk. I also bought a bike which I've regularly been going on 10+ mile trips (longest was 34 miles?). I've mounted it inside right now while it's cold, but that's not nearly as exciting for me.
Get the f*ck out of town
My goal here was to visit 3 states and go camping 4-5 times. I'll give myself a pass on the camping, but I described a Yellowstone/Tetons road trip and I did just that! My friend and I went in September when it was nice and quiet in the area, and it was the perfect way to get out of town.
Since campgrounds were closed and it's just kind of a tedious thing to get ready for anyways, I'm bummed I didn't do more camping but I'm not disappointed. There's a lot of preparation that goes into it and when you get to the campground it's hard to know whether or not others are going to be respectful of distancing. It would've just been a major headache.
I did hike almost every Saturday morning after the trails opened up though! I didn't count exactly how many hikes I went on, but I'd be happy to sub that in for the camping goal. Almost every weekend was a brand new hike in a different part of Western Washington.
Technical development and follow-through
I could write a novel on the ways that my team has changed since the beginning of this year. We started this year building a Proof of Concept application that we demoed to Microsoft's Kurt Del Bene (EVP of Core Services Engineering and Operations) and he said that what we had built was: "Mind bending."
That was my very first time building an application from the ground up working full-stack with the frontend, backend, and automation against the company's network infrastructure. We demoed that project in April and after that I shipped another product internally while helping design the project we've been working on for the last 6 months.
I can tell by looking at my initial goal that I definitely didn't know what was coming down the pike for me professionally:
I am going to continue building the web app shell that will standardize look & feel, authentication, logging, etc. across all of our product offerings.
I thought I was going to be diving into building a fully-featured UI environment but I actually spent a significant amount of time developing a backend platform. I worked directly with the company's network engineers who'd described a new "dream state" solution for how they wanted to interact with our network devices.
After a few months of iterating over designs, we took up work on this new platform and with the help of a ton of new talent in our org we demoed this to Kurt and Microsoft's new Chief Digital Officer Andrew Wilson. A personal accomplishment here was the fact that we were able to tell a really compelling story about what we're building, when some weren't sure it was ready.
Each year of my career has brought more difficult challenges and higher rewards. I don't see that stopping anytime soon, and I'm very excited for what the future holds.
Be someone people want to be around
I think I get a pass on this one, right?
I don't know that this was necessarily pass/fail but I know this is something I want to continue to work on going forward. I think there's still a gap between the energy I think put into the world versus the energy that I do.
Jon Lovett's 2020 resolutions had the following goals that amounted to "be someone people want to be around":
- Be positive
- Be generous
- Be disciplined
After looking through some of my Facebook/Twitter posts it's really hard to say that I have a bright and shiny disposition. I usually react to negative news with sarcasm or really bleak humor. I want to people to think of me as someone who is optimistic, not pessimistic.
I'm not necessarily worried about how I feel inside, I genuinely am a very hopeful person and I think challenges create opportunities for individuals and organizations to shine. I just need to find a better way to tell that story to those who are listening to me.